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Indian Express Ratings:**1/2
Theres this guy,hes too cool,ya. Lives and works in London,chases girls,gets em,beds em,moves on. Theres this girl,shes wild. Has this nice pad in a tony part of London,which she uses as a stop-over to change clothes in between all the partying. And,of course,theres this other girl,whos the seedhi-saadhi type,you know,covered from top to toe,sweet,shy.
Place these characters in a shiny glass jar,shake with a swizzle stick,and you get Cocktail.Which is just another name to call a one guy-two girls shtick,which is,as you and I know,one of the oldest in the book. Cocktail starts off headily enough,and bubbles along till half time; post that,the sips get diluted,and the swallows take much longer.
Gautam (Khan) is the sort of guy who sees anything female as a challenge,and they seem to fall like nine pins. In the real world,hed get called desperate,in Cocktails sleekly appointed confines,he is the lucky sod who gets all the action he wants. Hetries his luck with the just arrived-in-London-and-dealing- with-abandonment-issues Meera (Penty),who is not interested . But Meeras new-found friend and flatmate Veronica (Padukone),the very same insane party chick,is in. So heres our trio : cue smart lines about threesomes,and lots of fun stuff. Quick trip,just like that,no money woes for pretty people, to South Africa,which leads to beaches,bikinis,oiled flesh. Only problem : Gautams mummyji (Kapadia) and mamaji (Irani),who are busy match-making,and ruining the party.
Theres some good stuff in Cocktail. Adajania whos made Being Cyrus with Khan is a director with style. Here,he joins hands with Imtiaz Alis nifty dialogues,and we are made to feel good by seeing these lovely looking people do the stuff that people do when sex is in the air,and love is around the corner. The trouble begins when the L word gets centre-stage : to be any good,a rom com needs heart-ache and tears,but needs to be careful of sogginess. ‘Cocktail’ sparkles when the fun and games are on (even though it has some scenes which have been bunged in just for laughs),and gives us a couple of splendid moments when there is silence. No loud background music,no motor mouth lines,just blessed quiet,the way sometimes you want to know what you are feeling without ruining it with chatter. But it cant handle the being emo half as deftly.
It also,and this is a shame,frames the three people in an age-old Bollywood way we thought had been abandoned,rightly,for good. The wild,sexy hottie is okay to be sleeping with,but is not wife material. For that you will need a virginal,shrinking violet type,of whom your mummy approves. Gautams ‘mummyji takes her ‘kangans’ off her wrists and hands them to her ‘hone-wali-bahu’ (yes,she does) : did you think youd ever see this scene ever again? And that too in such a hip,contemorary romance as this one? It takes some of the pleasure away from seeing these three spar and come together: the suave Khan who basically does the same thing but well,a Padukone who makes her first serious stab at emoting,and the debutant Penty whos fresh and natural and likeable when she is not made to be a drip. Kapadia is plain annoying,though : Bollywood needs to re-think its loud Punjabi mummyjis.
Nice while the fizz lasts.